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On and off the field, the influence of legal professionals increasingly impacts final scores and bottom lines for sports organizations. Clark Hill’s roster of sports attorneys advises sports industry clients in a variety of transactions and legal disputes, including contract litigation, Title IX issues, safe sports, name, image and likeness issues, and private/public partnerships.

Our sports lawyers work with governing bodies and leagues/conferences, regional and national sports teams, arena operators, high school and collegiate institutions, athletic foundations, local governments, and athletes. Our sports attorneys provide value-added services to our clients in a variety of transactions and legal disputes, including in the following areas:

Governance/General Counsel

In representing governing bodies and foundations for sports-related entities, our sports attorneys draft and revise bylaws and other policies and procedures, supervise dispute resolution procedures, monitor compliance with the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, and address labor and employment issues.

Title IX Issues and Sensitive Abuse Investigations

To determine Title IX compliance, we counsel higher education and K-12 clients in a variety of Title IX issues and conduct audits of athletic departments. Our sports lawyers investigate claims of past and current sexual/physical/emotional abuse and represent clients in lawsuits throughout the country on these topics. We counsel clients in background screening requirements and draft/revise policies addressing sexual/physical/emotional misconduct, hazing/harassment, one-on-one interactions, and social media and electronic communications.

Athletic Audits

Clients benefit from our vast experience and knowledge of Title IX compliance issues and we stand ready to counsel universities through a compliance audit, as well as managing all aspects of the Title IX complaint process. In the event that a Title IX claim develops into litigation or an administrative complaint, we have the experience to defend the Title IX process implemented and followed whether brought by the complaining party, responding party, or Office of Civil Rights

Contract Litigation

Clients rely on our guidance in a variety of contractual disputes related to complex facilities agreements, agent/player agreements, sponsorship agreements, use of name, image and likeness, and other contractual relationships. Now more than ever, parties are assessing what obligations and rights are subject to renegotiation or may be excused from performance. Undoubtedly, parties will seek legal redress to either define the terms of the contract or enforce various provisions to remain flexible in the short and long term. Our experience includes assisting clients in pre-litigation assessments of contractual rights and obligations under existing contracts as well as prosecuting and defending disputed or breached contractual claims, including issues and provisions exacerbated by COVID-19.

Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL)

Our sports lawyers address NIL issues, from both the institutional and player perspectives. These issues include a review of the NIL agreements to ensure compliance with NCAA, league, and/or institution guidelines. We also counsel the institution and athlete on ancillary issues related to NIL, which include tax issues, immigration implications, and potential eligibility issues.

Concussion Litigation

Plaintiffs and defendants are equally aware of the value placed on claims for concussions and traumatic brain injuries. We have successfully defended such claims and can guide you through the process of establishing a strategic and successful defense.

Private/Public Partnerships

As infrastructure costs rise and revenues drop, government units nationwide are increasingly experiencing revenue shortfalls. One solution is for governments to forge private/public partnerships (P3) where private sector companies contract with governmental entities to fund and run specific projects. Our sports lawyers work on both sides of these partnerships, representing the interests of both the private and public sectors in a wide variety of situations.